As independent-minded people, giving anything over to someone else’s control isn’t easy. Whether we’re two or 82, it’s human nature to want to accomplish things on our own. But when it comes to a disease as spiritually and physically crippling as addiction, going solo just isn’t a viable option.
And thankfully, it doesn’t have to be.
When we turn our lives and our will over to the creator of the universe, our Heavenly Father, we find that He can do much more with them than we can. He can strengthen our resolve against temptation, heal us from the shame of our shortcomings, and instill in us a desire to become better people than we were before.
In the book Mere Christianity, author C.S. Lewis offers an excellent explanation of how God’s transformative power works:
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing, so you are not surprised. But presently, He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
What exactly must we do to turn our will over to God? Is it as easy as exclaiming, “Jesus take the wheel!” like in the Carrie Underwood song? There’s a little more to it than that, but Carrie’s on the right track.
Recognize the Limitations of Your Abilities
“It’s a common misconception to see addictive behavior as a lack of willpower, but addiction is so much more complex than that,” said Preston Dixon, COO at Renaissance Ranch, a Christian treatment center based in Bluffdale, Utah. “It is a disease that changes the way your brain and bodywork, often to the point where you have little to no control over your impulses.”
You may have strived for months to resist the urge to use drugs, only to give in after a particularly triggering moment, or perhaps because you simply don’t have the strength to fight the intense cravings anymore. These patterns of relapse show us that we have lost the ability to exercise self-control and need help.
Surrender Your Desires, Plans
In order to let God work in our lives, we have to learn to accept his redirection and guidance. One former substance abuser compared her journey to that of Lot’s wife in the Bible. Even though she was commanded not to, Lot’s wife looked back toward Sodom and Gomorrah with longing for the things she left behind and then was turned into a pillar of salt. “When I read those words, I said, ‘I am Lot’s wife. I am her,’… looking back for a life that if I stayed in it, I would be destroyed.'”
Healing starts as we relinquish our selfish desires and limited perspectives to God’s purposes for us. He can see what’s waiting for us beyond the horizon and can help us accomplish the things that will bring us the most joy.
Let Go of the Ego
It takes humility to recognize that we don’t have all the answers. Owning up to addiction and our helplessness against it is also painful and embarrassing. As we let go of our attachment to status, image, and other temporal things, we can better accept ourselves and others without condition, as God does.
By developing humility, we become pliable, teachable, and ready to accept our challenges and trials with greater understanding and patience. Likewise, we will be more receptive to those with experiences and viewpoints different from our own, increasing our capacity for empathy.
Trust God’s Wisdom and Guidance
There are many ways to build your trust in God. These include prayer, meditation, seeking inspiration from the scriptures and the testimonies of others, and engaging with faith-based support groups. As you develop a more personal relationship with the deity, you will find it easier to trust that He will guide you forward, even when the way ahead is frightening and unclear.
Trusting God also means remembering to give thanks for the victories you experience along the path of recovery, both small and great. No matter how difficult, He stands beside you each step of the way, offering you His faithfulness, strength, and grace.
In addition to the 12-Step program, Renaissance offers male adults a comprehensive array of faith-based drug rehab services, including clinical therapies, medication-assisted treatment, recreational activities, and experiential learning.
If you or a loved one struggle with substance abuse, we invite you to reach out to one of our staff members at 855-736-7262.